View Full Version : "Steel tongue lapping blood like a mastiff gorged on a runaway slave..."

2008-09-17, 01:53 AM
'Steel tongue lapping blood like a mastiff gorged on a runaway slave...' (http://www.poetrymagazine.com/archives/2005/Autmn2005/Features/espada.htm) My Name is Espada, by Martin Espada.

Steel Mastiff
Medium Elemental (Earth, Fire, Extraplanar)
HD 3d8 +6 (20 HP)
Speed 40 ft. (8 squares)
Init: +6
AC 20; touch 12; flat-footed 18
(+2 Dex, +8 Natural)
BAB +2; Grp +4
Attack Bite +4 (2d4+2) or Claw +4 (1d6+2)
Full-Attack Bite +4 (2d4+2) and 2 Claws +2 (1d6+2)
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Special Attacks Heat Metal
Special Qualities Earth Mastery, Elemental Traits, DR 5/-
Saves Fort +5 Ref +5 Will +0
Abilities Str 14, Dex 14, Con 15, Int 7, Wis 9, Cha 11
Skills Listen +5
Feats Multiattack, Improved Initiative
Organization Single, Pack (2-12)
Challenge Rating 3
Alignment Usually Chaotic Neutral
Advancement 4-9 (Medium), 10-15 (Large)

It takes your eyes a moment to fully comprehend what you are seeing. The shimmering steel form when observed closely seems to take the shape of a dog, a great hunting hound, made of a single smooth surface of brightly gleaming metal, like a perfect silver statue. Except it's moving, stepping smoothly back and forth, and once it opens its mouth you can see the great steel daggers of teeth all the way around its maw, glowing a light red, like heated metal...

Steel mastiffs are wild beasts, tied to the elemental planes of fire and earth. Despite this, they live almost entirely on the elemental plane of fire, as they do not share the earth glide ability of their groundborn cousins. Many intelligent denizens of the elemental plane of fire will domesticate steel mastiffs, to use as hunting hounds or guard dogs.

Nobody is truly sure why the steel mastiff hunts, as the few specimens that have ever been researched seem to be made of nothing but solid metal, and they have never been witnessed consuming meat or any other substance.

Earth Mastery: A steel mastiff gains a +1 bonus on attack and damage rolls if both it and its foe are touching the ground. If an opponent is airborne or waterborne, the mastiff takes a -4 penalty on attack and damage rolls. (These modifiers are not included in the statistics block.)

Heat Metal: Three times per day, a steel mastiff can cast the spell Heat Metal on itself. This does not damage the elemental, but heats up its mouth and claws so that they deal added fire damage with their attacks, equal to the damage that heated equipment would deal to a wielder based on the spell.

Steel mastiffs will usually travel in packs, often working together to take down big threats. They are intelligent in combat, often working together to pin enemies against walls, or flank them between dogs. They will use their Heat Metal ability only when they feel it is strictly necessary, and they feel threatened themselves rather than simply hunting. If a pack of steel mastiffs feels that they are all in danger of their lives, they will flee, often in different directions, meeting up again at a later time.

2008-09-17, 07:11 AM
I like it. These would make a decent summoned monster - a good answer to the hellhound! I can see them tearing up a small inn or terrorizing a village.

Heat metal - does the whole beast heat up or just its claws and mouth? Would it burn through ropes or bonds?

How about water - it might cool them down. Do the elementals avoid it?

Is there a way to remove the reliance on the spell description and just describe damage over a number of rounds.

Good stuff,


2008-09-17, 03:34 PM
Nice mechanic.

With the lag before the damage kicks in, and 3/day usage they should be less concervative about using it I should think, although "not for hunting" still makes sense.

Technical point: Heat metal deals no damage to creatures struck, unless "getting hit by" counts as "touching", in which case it takes 1 or 2 points of damage only. Rephrasing to say that fire damage is added to all attacks based on how long it has been since the effect was activated and then giving a duplicate table to the one found in the spell would seem a good place to start. Note also that Heat Metal is a multi-target spell, so your phrasing is off.

2008-09-17, 06:07 PM
Ah, thanks, that makes sense. I'll rephrase it, and add the damage dealt.

They aren't actually made of molten steel, but rather appear as a smooth surface, so water would just flow off of them like metal.

Hmm...I'm going to add some more fluff, I thought of some good additions. They are definitely used as hunting dogs by various beings of the elemental plane of fire, which is where they usually live.